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Sending food back because you did not like what the server recommended?

Is this appropriate?

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YOU: What do you recommend?

SERVER: The trout is a wonderful dish, just lovely.

YOU: Ok, I'll have the trout.

[Trout arrives, you try the trout, and hate it.]

YOU: I don't like the trout.

SERVER: I'm very sorry to hear that.

YOU: Can I have something else instead?

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  1. IMO, no. Food is subjective and if a person takes advice from a stranger, they have ownership in that. There are no guarantees...unless the trout was spoiled it should not be replaced free of charge. The waiter did not force anyone to choose the trout...it was a suggestion.

    People need to learn to take responsibilities for their own decisions and stop trying to find someone to pawn responsibility onto in the name of getting something for free.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Absolutely agree. If you choose to order the trout based on the solicited (really, even unsolicited, it shouldn't matter) opinion of the waiter, and you don't like it, then if/when you go back to the restaurant, just don't order the trout again. You don't get it free. Now, the restaurant may offer you something else if they see you aren't eating your entree...fine. But it should by no means be expected. We all know how much taste buds vary.

      1. re: iluvtennis

        Agree with the previous posters. It's one meal. Don't order it again, eat what you can from the meal that you enjoy, have a dessert and call it done.

        1. re: iluvtennis

          Almost any restaurant would prefer to change your entree than have you displeased. While on a tour of the CIA in Hyde Park NY the tour guide said that if you were dissatisfied you would tell 2 friends and they tell 2 friends, let alone a chowhound.

          1. re: phantomdoc

            Not necessarily....some people are overly critical. And among my friends and families and even casual acquaintances, I'm very much "consider the source". IMO restaurants shouldn't have to conduct their business in fear of unjust retaliation.

        2. re: Janet from Richmond

          Totally concur. If I was the customer and that happened to me, I'd order something else (if I couldn't bear to eat the trout) but pay for both the trout and the second dish.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            With the amount of food that restaurants throw away most would rather you be happy and return with more money for a nice experience.

            1. re: phantomdoc

              More money? I believe anyone who would send back the trout in this context would probably ask for some kind of compensation during a subsequent visit. And they are still going to talk bad about the trout.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                By more money I am referring to return visits. Not to order stuff to send back again. Frequently a change of chef will result in a formerly appreciated dish no longer acceptable. For a restaurant that nothing is good anymore you do not go back. If a few items are prepared differently and not to your liking, hell, just ask them to change it.

                1. re: phantomdoc

                  My point is that the request IMO is unreasonable and probably not the only unreasonable request in their portfolio. My rhetorical question to the restaurant is whether or not this is someone they want to appease in order to come back...only the restaurant can determine that.

              2. re: phantomdoc

                But if I order something that isn't too my liking, that doesn't necessarily mean I won't return, especially if the second dish is good.

                And then you have the possible consequences of this thread, where you read that some people never send anything back for this reason:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543560

                That is not to say I never send anything back. I have sent things back because it was cooked improperly (raw chicken, steak well done when I asked for it rare), seafood went bad, etc (and I'll ask nicely as opposed to rudely telling the waiter that the food isn't fit for a dog). But if it's due to an issue of taste, then I assume that responsibility.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  I only send back something if it's spoiled (like seafood) or if a steak is substationally overcooked and I'm only with my immediate family. IMO the person who sends back the trout because they did not like it and the waiter suggested it IS the person who constantly finds reasons to send stuff back.

              3. re: Miss Needle

                and in any good restaurant, if you ordered something else, they'd surely inquire as to what the cause for additional entree was, and most likely take the original dish off of your bill...

              4. re: Janet from Richmond

                Agreed. You're under no obligation to listen to the server and they might enjoy completely different things than you. Why on earth would someone trust the opinion of someone that they don't know given that, as you put it - food is subjective. I don't always even trust the opinions of people that I know well ;)

                If you order it, you're responsible for it, unless they screwed something up.

              5. NO!

                If there is something wrong with the dish - bad ingredients, over/under cooked, etc. then yes.

                If it simply is not my cup of tea - no. My choice, my problem.

                I tend to order the more unusual items on a menu. I'm a good cook, so these items often introduce to me flavors or techniques that I don't usually work with. Some times they are good, sometimes not so good...If I want safe, there are usually safe choices available. I like a small gamble - if I loose, it's just one meal. If I win, it is usually "wow"!

                1. Nope as well. You ordered the dish and if the fish is bad or badly prepared (i.e. raw or charred) then you can send back. But you took the advice of a stranger and youhave different tastes. Heck there are times when jfood recommends something for mrs jfood and he winds up eating it and enjoying it.

                  Jfood used to narrow to two entrees and then ask the server's advice, but stopped that nonsense many years ago. Sometimes there is a little too much trout in the kitchen that has to get moved..."Move the trout" from the MOD.

                  1. if it was poorly done, send it back. if you just don't
                    "like it" -- man up!

                    1. I agree with the majority of the other posts. If you don't like it, don't send it back- everyone has different taste in food. If it was not properly prepared- e.g. undercooked, found a hair, really really cold etc, then send it back. At least you tried it and know you don't like it, so next time you're there you are more aware. The waiter part of it doesn't count. They just suggested it, you had a choice to take it or not- they didn't force you to order it. At the end you learned a lesson in not ordering trout at that restaurant and can try something else if you go back.